KUETians at World’s top ranked universities (according to “Times Higher Education”)

March 1st, 2010

Abdur Rahman

ME – 2k2, KUET


Dear all KUETians, here is the partial list of the KUETians who attended in Top ranked universities. I have used “Times Higher Education” to evaluate the university’s ranking. A lot of my foreigner friends use it to evaluate the universities. I know there is no exact procedure/methodology or any particular organisations to rank universities. But, if any university is in top 500 within last 4/5 years then nobody can put a question mark about the quality of that university. Thats my personal opinion. Hopefully, it willn’t make any controversary. I prepared it for the juniors who are looking for higher education now. They can communicate with their seniors who already attended in those universities. When i was in Bangladesh, i didn’t know myself that each year atleast 10% of the BUETians try hard & soul to get admission in World’s toppest universities. A good university/good environment/laboratory is always a vital factor for the higher education. Because, it is more than enough to change the novice student’s mentality & makes him/her humble as well as ambitious. Good luck to KUETians & long live our beloved KUET.

No Name Batch Name of the university Varsity’s ranking position in 2009 2008 2007 2006 Email address
1. Tofazzal Hossain CSE-2k Australian National University 17 16 16 16 tofazzal743@yahoo.com
2. Dr Mir Hayder ME-93 McGill University 18 20 12 21 mmahayder@hotmail.com
3. Shishutosh Barua CE-95 University of Melbourne 36 38 27 22 shishutosh@hotmail.com
4. Sayeedul Haque CE-2k1 University of Melbourne 36 38 27 22 sayeed84@yahoo.com
5. Mesbauddin Chowdhury (Rakan) ME-95 Monash University 45 47 43 38 rokan2210@yahoo.com
6. Dr Mohammad Mashud ME-92 Nagoya University 92 120 112 128 mdmashud@yahoo.com
7. Faruque Hossain EEE-97 City University of Hong Kong 124 147 149 154 fhossain97@yahoo.com
8. Nawaz Ali CSE-2k1 City University of Hong Kong 124 147 149 154 taposh_kuet20@yahoo.com
9. Dr Sumi Siddiqua* CE-94 Cardiff University 135 133 99 141 sumisiddiqua@yahoo.ca
10. Abdur Razzak - Kyushu University 136 128 arazzakbitk@yahoo.com
11. Golam Kibria EEE-2k1 McMaster University** 143 117 108 155 kibria076@yahoo.com
12. Sobhan Chowdhury EEE-85 University of western Ontario (UWO) 151 159 126 215 chowdhurysobhan@yahoo.ca
13. Zahir Uddin Ahmed ME-97 University of western Ontario (UWO) 151 159 126 215 sohel_02me@yahoo.com
14. Foizul Islam Chowdhury (Umel) CSE-99 University of western Ontario (UWO) 151 159 126 215 umel80@yahoo.com
15. Rahima Afrose (Rony) ME-2k University of western Ontario (UWO) 151 159 126 215 kuet_afrose2k@yahoo.com
16. Nazrul Islam (Rajib) CSE-2k University of western Ontario (UWO) 151 159 126 215 nazrul_research@yahoo.com
17. Jahidur Jahman (Sumon) EEE-2k1 University of western Ontario (UWO) 151 159 126 215 sumon308@yahoo.com
18. Mohammad Sadnan Al-Manir - Vienna University of Technology - - 166 138 sadnanalmanir@yahoo.com
19. Mohammad Badiul Islam - KTH, Royal Institute of Technology 174 173 192 172 badiul98@yahoo.co.uk
20. Abdullah al Mamum (Tauhid) ME-2k2 KTH, Royal Institute of Technology 174 173 192 172 tauhid82@yahoo.com
21. Abdur Rahman*** ME-2k2 Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) 191 183 154 165 rahman_kuet@yahoo.com
22. Sheikh Mahbub Habib CSE-98 Chalmers University of Technology 198 162 197 147 rony2k2001@yahoo.com

* She worked in UWO as a post doctorate researcher and currently she is working in “Simon Fraser University” (another top ranked university 196th position in 2009).

**One of the KUETians is now in a faculty position here. His name is Dr Matiur Rahman Howlader (EEE-83), email: mrhowlader@ece.mcmaster.ca.

***He is doing collaborating PhD in ULB & Ryerson University.

Make your Statement of Purpose Perfect

January 18th, 2010

This article is forwarded by -

Raihan Masud


Make your SOP perfect

So now you have your statement of purpose. After correct it grammatically, you should read it and correct it several times to make it a coherent and unique essay that get you the admission offer.

Put your Statement of Purpose away for a while. Then, put yourself in an admissions committee’s place and start to read it in about 30 seconds. Be aware that you are going through a few hundred applications and classifying them into `accepted’, `maybe’ and `not accepted’ groups. Think of how you would look at SOPs and try to read yours through a stranger’s eyes.

Use this check-list to be sure that you have mentioned all critical information in your SOP in an honest and interesting manner. Your SOP should contain information that demonstrates:

· Interesting commence.

· Areas that you are interested in.

· The reasons of your interest to those areas.

· These interests are based on academic or job experience that the school may find useful.

· How these interests related to your anticipated future career.

· How do you think further studies will help you?

· Additional experiences that may help

· Your college and work projects were instrumental in confirming your interest in the field.

· Your teamwork ability that is very important in North America.

· The essay has been written about your personality. It should look like that it cannot be about anybody.

· The reasons that you have applied particular school. Talk about these reasons in a manner that demonstrate you have searched
about the school. Show the officer that you have applied to  the school wisely.

Your essay should flow smoothly. You should go through paragraphs coherently. The SOP should be grammatically correct and end well to leave the officer with a sense of completion.

This self-checks will yield a few ideas for improvement. We recommends you to use it at least 3-4 times during this last stage of making your SOP more perfect. After these checks you may have some people to review your SOP. Experienced and professional people may help you a lot. For the last time check your essay for a spelling and grammar error. Try to type your SOP and use appropriate margins, font, and size. Avoid underlining, boldface and italics. Do not use special letterhead. Finally print your SOP on a good quality white paper.

As we mentioned before, do not tell your advantages, show them. That is, do not say how dedicated or committed you are. Show it by describing your accomplishments. Use positive language and avoid the passive voice.

Why GRE and TOEFL scores are important ??

January 18th, 2010

Raihan Masud



I am writing for those who are planning for higher studies. Probably the most frequent question comes to applicant’s  mind is “What is most important for admission?” There is no common parameter that what I understood form my application and admission experience. For US/Canadian universities it seems applicant’s GPA, class rank (merit position), Statement of Purpose (Why interested in MS/PhD), GRE [as a standard measure for all applicants' admission test] and TOEFL for international students are important, research papers are very important when someone is applying for PhD or Research Assistance ship [one way of funding when one work for one professor's project and get tuition fee waiver and stipend for living].

For admission in US and most Canadian universities GRE act as an admission test which is required for all applicants including American or Canadian students. Why GRE is important because the applicants are from all over the world and when applicant’s university is unknown to graduate admission committee they look to the applicant’s GRE score for evaluating the applicant (and GRE act as a standard for all applicants as everyone has to take it no matter form where applicant did his undergrad/MS from). If GRE score is low and the university is pretty unknown then the chance become very low for acceptance.

Then TOEFL especially the spoken part is really important for those who wish to have a funding as a form of teaching assistant ship. TA ships are very competitive and given only to few applicants including American, Canadian or students coming from English spoken countries. If someone’s GPA or all other parts of profile are superb but TOEFL score is very low then chance of getting TA ship is rare because as a TA one has to interact with undergrad students and has to help the labs or grade their projects/quizzes and answer their queries.

Students have to submit both GRE and TOEFL scores for a application not either one. GRE and TOEFL are different exams and both are required for north American universities.

If you do bad or do not even participate in GRE and TOEFL then even if you get your admission, you might face problem getting your visa if one visa officer ask you for your GRE and TOEFL score. You may get admission into some low profile universities in US/Canada with low GRE or TOEFL score or even without appearing at GRE and TOEFL but when funding or good university is a concern then GRE and TOEFL matter. When you have admission but no funding offer form a university then it would be real hard to get a visa. But those who have funding offer VISA is nothing to worry about especially in US unless it is a real bad luck. I know US embassy is even arranging seminar (I attended on in US Emabassy of BD) for attracting more students to apply for US as because last couple of years number of applicants decreased in alarming rate to US regarding VISA hassles. But now visa is real easy if someone has funding offer from a good university but they will definitely look to your profile for finding whether your sole goal for going to US is study.

Once students cross the minimum requirement of GRE score of one university say 1300 or Toefl iBT 100 then other factors become important like research paper (if applying for research assistantship or PhD), GPA and class position. Overally it is a whole package of your profile to make a successful application to get funding and admission.

If you have good scores in GRE and TOEFL then the whole world is open to you. So why not work for GRE and TOEFL from your early student life? It would hardly take 6 monts for GRE and 1/2 two moths for TOEFL to make good scores. Work hard for building your future. Good luck.

Step by Step guide for graduate admission in US

January 17th, 2010

Raihan Masud
Graduate Student
Department of Computer Science
University of Oregon, USA



1. Mind Setup for MS or PhD

2. Choosing country to pursue your Graduate(MS/PhD) Degree

3. Knowing the general requirements (GRE, TOEFL/IELTS, etc)for Gradute Admissions to universities of that country

4. Choosing the Reseach Areas where you want to perform reseach in your Graduate Study

5. Appear at GRE, TOEFL/IELTS Exams

6. Choose Universities- those meet your demand and where you meet the minimum admissiom requirements

7. Write to professors and the current graduates students of selected universites to determine the funding status

8. Collect Transcripts & Certificates (True Copy) from your BSc(Undergrad) University- KUET

9. Collect Recommendations from your supervisors and course teachers (Generally 3 recommendations required)

10. Write Statement of Purpose – Your reseach interest & credentials

11. Prepare an Academic Resume for Graduate Admission

12. Apply to Universities- Send Application Packet, Pay Application Fee

13. Check online status of your application- Whether all documents are in

14. Remind the professor that you applied, whether he can review the file for funding

15. Wait some days for review of your application & Get the Admission with Funding

16. Don’t stop working- A lot more things to do

17. Prepare all necessary documents ready for Visa

18. Pay the SEVIS Fee

19. Get I-20 & Apply for VISA

20. As you get the visa book/purchase the Air Ticket

21. Purchase Clothings, some important books & pack your baggage

22. Fly to your university

23. Congratulations!!

24. Now it is your turn to help the juniors by guiding them for Higher Study

25. Best wishes for your Graduate Study

KUETians at higher education level in Canada

January 12th, 2010

Abdur Rahman

ME-2k2 Batch, KUET.

This is a partial list of KUETians currently studying in Canadian Universities. Beside of this list, a lot of KUETians already finished higher education and are doing job or business in Canada. The most highlighted point is that a lot of KUETians (more than 20) already have PEng (Professional Engineers Ontario) licenses and more than 30 are trying to achieve it. It’s a matter of great proud. But as compare to BUET, still now we have huge lack of populations in higher education level. Hopefully, our juniors will be motivated & fill up the gaps and will increase the prestige of our University.

Best wishes for everyone.

No. Name Batch Level of study Department University Email address
1. Mahmud Hossain 84 Masters EEE Ryerson University kmmhossain@yahoo.com
2. Amirul Islam 88 Masters CE Concordia University amir0101nar@hotmail.com
3. Jafar Iqbal 92 IEEQB ME Ryerson University iqbal_aj@yahoo.ca
4. Khusru Zaman 94 Masters CE Ryerson University zamankhusru@yahoo.ca
5. Asgar Khan (Warsi) 94 PhD ME Concordia University warsi94536@yahoo.com
6. Habibur Rahman 95 PhD ME Concordia University mdhabib95@yahoo.com
7. Lutfor rahman (Sajib) 95 Masters ME Concordia University lutfor@kuet.ac.bd
8. Khaled Chowdhury 96 PhD CE Memorial University mdkhassan@yahoo.com
9. Rizwan Khan 96 PhD EEE Universite du Quebec rizwan.khan01@yahoo.ca
10. Refaul Ferdous (Pabel) 96 PhD ME Memorial University pabelctg@yahoo.com
11. Jahangir Alam 97 PhD EEE Memorial University jahangir_kuet@yahoo.com
12. Aurup G M Moshiuddin 97 Masters ME Concordia University gmaurup@yahoo.com
13. Kazi Tayubul Haque 97 PhD ME Memorial University tayubul_bd@yahoo.com
14. Zahir Uddin Ahmed 97 Masters(done) ME University of western Ontario sohel_02me@yahoo.com
15. Farhana Shirin 98 Masters EEE Memorial University farhanashirin@yahoo.com
16. Sahabul Alam 98 Masters EEE Concordia University -
17. Nur Hossain (Kakan) 98 Masters ME Dalhousie University nhossainkuet@yahoo.com
18. Foizul Islam Chowdury (Umel) 99 PhD CSE University of western Ontario umel80@yahoo.com
19. Suruz Miah 99 PhD CSE University of Ottawa suruz12000@yahoo.com
20. Rahima Afrose (Rony) 2k Masters ME University of western Ontario kuet_afrose2k@yahoo.com
21. Nazrul Islam (Rajib) 2k PhD CSE University of western Ontario nazrul_research@yahoo.com
22. Golam Kibria 2k1 Masters EEE McMaster University kibria076@yahoo.com
23. Jahidur Rahman (Sumon) 2k1 PhD EEE University of western Ontario sumon308@yahoo.com
24. Rafiqul haque (Rubel) 2k1 Masters ME Concordia University rubel_62@yahoo.com
25. Jhumur Debnath 2k2 Masters CE University of Guelph jhum27_deb@yahoo.com
26. Sumita Biswas 2k2 PhD EEE York University sumi_sanjoy@yahoo.ca
27. Tanjila Haque 2k2 Masters EEE Memorial University mit_eee@yahoo.com
28. Gazi Habiba 2k2 Masters EEE Dalhousie University gazi_happy@yahoo.com
29. Khademul Islam (Russel) 2k2 Masters EEE Memorial University russel_kuet@yahoo.com
30. Manjurul Islam (Suman) 2k2 Masters ME UOIT mi_suman2003@yahoo.com
31. Abdur Rahman 2k2 PhD ME Ryerson University rahman_kuet@yahoo.com
32. Tanay Dey 2k2 Masters CSE University of Regina dtanay2004@yahoo.com
33. Ayesa Khatun 2k3 Masters ME Universite de Sherbrooke engg_moni_0007@yahoo.com
34. Suborna Datta 2k3 Masters ME Ryerson University bonna_034@yahoo.com
35. Rothin Paul 2k3 Masters ME Ryerson University paul_rothin@yahoo.com
36. Zubair Ahmed 2k3 Masters ME University of Manitoba za_017@yahoo.com

KUET Alumni in Higher Study (USA)

December 30th, 2009

This is an attempt to encourage the current KUET students for higher study. We tried to focus on KUET alumni those who are currently doing their graduate study in USA. Please find their profiles below.

riaz_ppRiaz Ahmed, KUET alumni of ME 99 batch, is currently a graduate student at Mechanical Engineering Department at  the University of South Carolina. He is working with Professor Kenneth Reifsnider and his area of research is Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and Composite Material.  Now he is working in several projects funded by NASA, DOE (Department of Energy) and US Air Force.  The website of the lab he works for is, www.sc.edu,  www.me.sc.edu,  www.engr.sc.edu/sofc/

He says, “I came here most likely 2 years ago. Earlier I had no idea about higher study scope in US. From my understanding over the last 2 years, I should say, it’s not that tricky to come USA what we actually believe. We KUET students have a major shortcoming. We are always afraid of GRE. Only students, who have very good GPA, consider about higher studies. And very few of them focus on USA. But truly speaking, I have met lot of BUET students who have very poor GPA (around 3 or below) or very poor GRE (1050 or below). Further they get scholarship only because of their enthusiasm and dedication. They at least tried hard. If you want scholarship, you have to spend lots of time in net. If we will take GRE (whatever the result is) and attempt hard for USA or any other country, I strongly believe, it’s also achievable for KUET students. Nevertheless, few universities in USA also allow students without GRE. But I always suggest, at least sit for GRE. It will make you confident. Don’t think much about your undergrad result. Another thing I would like to add here. Don’t afraid of research work. Some student’s think, as I am not a good student (considering my GPA), it will be difficult for me to survive as a researcher. But it’s really a wrong concept. Undergrad study and research work are two fully different scenarios. No one can say who will do better in research. Research is all about your aptitude, intelligence, thinking ability, innovativeness, dedication etc. You can have lot of examples who’s had poor GPA but did very well in research and some of them working as faculty in US.”

Molla Hasibul Hasan, KUET Alumni of ME 2000 batch is currently a graduate student at Mechanical Engineering Department at theLamar University, Texas

Auvirup Sen Gupta, KUET Alumni of CE 2002 is currently a graduate student at Civil Engineering Department at the University of Maine, Orono.

Raihan Masud, KUET Alumni of CSE 2002 batch is currently studying at Computer Science Department at the University of Oregon. He works with Professor Stephen Fickas. His research area is Human Computer Interaction and Software Engineering. He also have interests in Machine Learning, Ubiquitous and Distributed Systems. His personal site : http://ix.cs.uoregon.edu/~raihan/

He says, “I advise juniors to apply to Ph.D. program even if anyone have plan to do Masters. Because getting funding in Masters is really tough and you can change your PhD to Masters after you come here. You can even change your professor or change your PhD area. And in US, it is not needed to have Masters degree to apply for PhD. It is a good idea to do a good thesis and publish it. This will help getting admission either in MS or in PhD. Try preparing for GRE as early as you can. May be from first or second year. One more thing, getting US visa is very very easy these days. Every one gets it. And in US there are around 3500+ universities and you can for sure get admission into one, no matter what your gpa is. If you can grow more credentials(GRE,GPA, thesis/projects) you can get into more competitive schools. So take GRE and TOEFL/IELTS and try your best. Good luck.”

Hasan Ahmed Kazmee, KUET alumni of CE 2002 batch is now a graduate student at Civil Engineering Department at the University of Oklahoma.

Md. Iftekhar Tanveer, KUET alumni of EEE 2002 batch, is currently a graduate student at Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Memphis. He works with Professor Mohammed Yeasin. His research area is Automatic Facial Expression Detection. Co-analysis of different prosodic and kinesic features for effective interpretation of human emotion. (Related to Computer Vision, Image Processing, Data Mining and Machine Learning). He is currently working on Facial Expression Detection. The website of the lab he works for is, http://cvpia.memphis.edu/ . His personal website is http://www.iftekhar-bd.com/

Farah Ishtiwana Huq, KUET alumni of CE 2002 batch is now a graduate student at Civil Engineering Department at the University of Memphis. Her research area is Structural Engineering and she is working on application of evolutionary computation method (Genetic Algorithm) in structural optimization.

Nafisa Afrin Chowdhury, KUET alumni of CSE 2002 batch is now a graduate student at Computer Science Department at the University of Oregon. Her research interest is in Artificial Evolution and other areas of Artificial Intelligence. She says for juniors, “Don’t be hopeless if your “KUET CGPA” is low. A number of examples (my one is 3.38) can be shown that people having CGPA< 3.50 are also achieving higher studies in US. One more point, I found that US education system doesn’t require memorizing things at all. You need to do well in assignments, quizes, projects, papers etc. Grading depends on how well you understand. If you feel you have potential and spirit in you to study higher in abroad, I should tell you, go and apply for US universities.”

Sk. Awal Russell, KUET alumni of CE 2002 batch is now a graduate student at Civil Engineering Department at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. He is working with Professor Hansen Marion. His research interest is in Structural Engineering.

Lalmohan Bhowmik, KUET alumni of ECE 2002 batch is now a graduate student at Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. His personal site is http://lalmohan.yolasite.com

Success story of ex-KUETian in US

December 3rd, 2009
We are very proud of KUET Alumni, Ahsan R. Choudhuri, Ph. D. , Associate Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, who has recently been awarded  with $5 Million research grant from NASA.

Here is the news:

NASA Awards UTEP $5 Million to Develop Center for Space Exploration Technology Research

Ahsan R. Choudhuri

Ahsan R. Choudhuri

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has been awarded a five-year, $5 million grant by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to create a Center for Space Exploration Technology Research.

The award comes via the NASA Group 5 University Research Center program, which fosters new aerospace science and technology concepts with a goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who receive degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

UTEP was one of six universities selected from 35 applicants to the award program.

The UTEP center will work closely with other NASA research facilities, including Johnson Space Center in Houston and the White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, N.M., on advanced capabilities in environmentally friendly propulsion technologies and the use of natural resources on other planets as well as the Moon to create spacecraft fuel and other materials. UTEP faculty from the College of Engineering and the Department of Geological Sciences will collaborate on the research.

The center will be directed by Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., the primary investigator for the project. Choudhuri, an expert on aerospace propulsion and space system design, said UTEP is “at the right place with the right focus at the right time” for the development of the new center.

“With the additional growth of the aerospace industry in southwestern Texas, as well as in southeastern New Mexico, UTEP’s research capacity is expanding to meet the needs of this region,” he said.

The award will provide 35 positions for graduate students to conduct research on the future of rocket engines, propulsion systems and propellants. In addition, the University will develop a master’s of science degree in mechanical engineering with a concentration in aerospace engineering.

Source: http://engineering.utep.edu/news092209.htm

See his departmental website for more:  http://engineering.utep.edu/facultychoudhuri.htm

IELTS Preparation FAQs

November 18th, 2009
Md. Mohsin Ali
Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE)
Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET)
Khulna – 9203, Bangladesh.
Telephone: +880 41 769471 Ext. 371.
Mobile: +880 1721 332985
Website: http://sites.google.com/site/kuetmohsin

1.Is it computerized test as like GRE & TOEFL?

It is paper and pencil based.

2.How is test taken in reading, listening, writing and speaking sections?

There are 3 passages with 40 questions and time is 60 minutes including transfer to the answer sheet for reading. There are varieties of questions like MCQ, Fill in the blanks, True-false-not given, diagram labeling etc.

In speaking section there are three parts. First part- introducing with the examiner with some familiar question like name, profession, hoby liking etc. and last for 4-5 minutes. Second part- A Cue Card having a topic on which have to talk for at most 2 minutes but can have 1 minute time for preparation of what a candidate wants to talk and in third part- examiner will discuss with the candidate about the topic given in the cue card and lasts for 5-6 minutes.

In listening there are 4 sections with 40 questions and 30 minutes allowed time for exam excluding 10 minutes to transfer the answers to the answer sheet. There are varieties of questions in this part like fill in the blanks, MCQ, labeling diagram etc. There are some pause time between one section sections.

In writing section there are 2 tasks given, one with at least 150 words having allowed time 20 minutes and another with at least 250 words and lasts for 40 minutes. Task 1 is to describe the line graph, chart, figure etc. and in task 2 there is a topic given to describe whether I support this topic or not or what is my view about this.

3.How many time IELTS exam is taken in a year?

Actually it varies from place to place. In Khulna it occurs about 4 times per year and in Dhaka it is arranged about 3 times per month. One can also take exam in Rajshahi, Khulna, Chittagong, Comilla and Sylhet like Khulna.

4. And when?

Candidates can found the exam schedule in the http://www.britishcouncil.org/bangladesh

Application procedure for PR (Permanent Residensy) in Canada (for the applicants inside of Canada)

November 14th, 2009

Md. Abdur Rahman

ME – 2k2 batch

PhD candidate, Ryerson University, Canada.

[N. B: This application procedure is only for the applicants inside of the Canada (non Québec) and “Federal skilled Worker” category. Currently, I am processing my application in this category and unable to give you right informations of other categories].

The application has two steps:

First step:

You have to send your documents to the “Intake office” located at Sydney, NS, Canada. Here is the link. Before start filling
the forms, please read the instructions from guide and check all the documents from checklist.
They will make a preliminary assessment and will response via email whether you are qualified or not.

2nd step:

After receiving an email confirming from that you are eligible to send your documents in Buffolo, NY, USA (or other VISA office you have choosed, but Buffolo is the fastest one), you will need all the forms again from here:
And don’t forget about the new checklist. It is different from the previous one and here it is:
Good luck everyone  :)

Take care.

Building Vocabulary: Appropriate Tools and Strategy for KUETians

November 1st, 2009


Md. Iftekhar Tanveer (Chayan)

EEE, 2K2

MS Student, University of Memphis, USA

We, KUETIANS, always feel an obvious lagging in our vocabulary. One of the main reasons for this is our apathy towards English books, magazines and novels etc. During my 4 years in KUET, I never saw anybody to read an English novel (including me). Nobody even advised to do so. This bad habit eventually lead to a lack in confidence in the English skill measuring tests (like TOEFL and IELTS) as well as the aptitude tests (like GRE). Our teachers also show severe antipathy for learning English. Although the medium of instruction is English, they deliver lectures in Bengali. Moreover, the one semester English course is not up to the mark in quality. As a result, our students are seriously lagging behind in competition when the question of higher education and research comes.

To get rid of this situation, it is exigent that an English club is to be formed where students can practice and improve their English listening, reading, writing and speaking ability. A group effort obviously has much more strength than an individual effort. S@ifur’s Language club could be a role model for this. But till the club is not being formed, we have to be a little more serious on learning English. We have to give effort to build our own vocabulary. Still, only trying to memorize words from a wordbook (or dictionary ;) will be a futile job. Mind it, I am not telling that reading words from wordlists is inconsequential – in fact, this is the only way to ameliorate vocabulary for us because we never actually went through the world of English literature. Rather, what I wanted to establish is that mere memorizing words is a tedious act and requires an extremely high motivation and perseverance.

However, the process of building vocabulary becomes much easier and enjoyable if we follow some techniques. While reading words (or memorizing words form a wordlist), we should always pay attention to the prefixes, roots and suffixes of the words. These are wonderful tools to decode the internal meaning. Let me substantiate my claim with an example. Suppose we have learnt a word “Eloquent” – which actually mean “Expressive or Fluent in a language”. If you try to find the etymology of this word, you will eventually come up to the fact that it is actually based on the root “-loqu-”, which means to speak or talk. And the suffix “-ent” indicates that it is an adjective. Now, if we encounter another word “loquacious”, for which we don’t know the meaning, we can easily identify the root “loqu” at the beginning and come to a conclusion that it is something related to “talk” (loquacious means talkative). In this way, a learner is automatically being able to decode lots of words by just understanding a few. This is a major skill that is tested in GRE. Even after memorizing 3500 completely new hard words from Barron’s GRE book, people fail to identify the right meaning if they lack this skill.

Now the question comes – where can we find the etymology of words? Some of the dictionaries contain those. But why spend money to buy another dictionary? Just go to www.dictionary.com, type the word, and hit the search button – you will get definitions of the word as well as sample applications to sentences from 5-6 different dictionaries (Dictionary.com unabridged, American Heritage Dictionary, Online Etymology Dictionary, WordNet, Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary, Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary). Not only this – you can hear the pronunciation also through the speakers (Say goodbye to those obscure pronunciation keys). You will also get links of articles about those words from Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia. Moreover, a thesaurus will show all the possible synonyms of the word (Seems like the Lamp of Aladdin, Right?). If you use Mozilla Firefox, you can add dictionary.com to the search box so that you don’t need to access to the main site every time when searching for a new word.

At this point, I have to concede about the hurdles imposed by our imprudent decision-makers (i.e. our teachers). For internet access you have to go to the lab because they don’t want to provide connection to the halls even if you are ready to pay for it. Very few students would actually show this energy. But why would you damage your own future for them? Just buy an EDGE enabled mobile set (now days, an EDGE and java enabled set costs less than 8000BDT). Download Opera Mini Browser and have the Aladdin’s Lamp in your pocket! Opera has a built in feature to search in dictionary.com without accessing the page first.

If you find this EDGE is not pocket-friendly (i.e. costly) you can download an offline version of English dictionary. Although you will not get all those features available in dictionary.com in this offline dictionary, yet it is a very good tool to use (you can explore this website www.getjar.com ¨C it has lot more important tools for your handset. Within some days you would start to love the mobility provided by these software). Anyway, if you have neither EDGE nor Java support, still your mobile can help you. When you are reading English newspaper or magazine in the television room, always save all the new words you encounter in the “notes” section or in the “Text Message Drafts”. Now, when you are back in room, take your dictionary and start learning each word. This approach is proved much easier than gobbling down the wordlists. This is because in this approach you already have an idea about the context and a possible use of the word.

If you don’t like any of the above mentioned ways (I don’t find any reason for that), the most rudimentary form of these tools is already in your room, or the room beside yours. Just open up a word document in MS Word, and type any word you want, Right click and go to thesaurus, you will get several synonyms and one antonym. Choose the most abstruse one and repeat the same process. Eventually you will get lots of new words to memorize.

I want to conclude my write-up by talking about one point which I forgot to mention earlier. That is, we always need to maintain a diary or notebook for vocabulary building purpose. Whenever have we learnt a new word it is very important to write it in the notebook, along with a concise definition and one or two sentences as an example of its use. Otherwise, we shall never get an opportunity to mature up the inchoate knowledge on these newly learned words. Last, but not the least, passion for learning words is the best tool to increase vocabulary. Since you are still reading this boring write-up, it can be assumed that you have a longing for that. Happy Studying!!!